Currently, custom flags for moderator attention are not automatically invalidated (marked helpful) when a post gets deleted. Ordinarily, one can retract a moderator flag by going to the post, clicking "flag", and then "Retract Flag". This works even if the post has been deleted, provided they can see the post (they have 10,000+ rep, it's their own post, or they have answered it).

However, it's not possible to self-remove a flag on a deleted post if they can't see the deleted post, because they can't get to the "flag" button. Is this intended? If not, can this ability please be implemented?

As Aurora0001 commented, there is no server-side check; it's just not possible to access the button due to the post being deleted. Can this please be implemented on the website? Or is the fact that it's not prevented server-side a bug that is to be fixed by removing it?

  • 4
    Duplicate over on Meta.SO: Allow retracting flags on deleted posts even if you can't view deleted posts. There is also a (partial) solution with a userscript there which proves the API does exist, just not the UI.
    – Aurora0001
    Feb 26, 2018 at 16:26
  • I've been using that userscript ever since I asked that MSO question and it's been working fine
    – Magisch
    Mar 14, 2018 at 7:24
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    Just because something is possible via the API that isn’t possible via the website UI doesn’t make that a bug in the API
    – Cai
    Mar 14, 2018 at 8:55

1 Answer 1


Well, if it is helpful, it'll get looked at and marked as such. The possible problem here is that it adds another avenue - outside the intended ones - to view deleted posts.

The point of a flag isn't just to have it accepted or rejected; it's to get a pair of eyes on a post so appropriate action can be taken. You're flagging for attention, and in most cases, things don't vanish until they get attention.

A custom flag is literally for things the system is unable to handle and should be reviewed by a moderator.

Seems very much by design.

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    Did you read the MSO post? There are good arguments for implementing this there. There is also a user script there for retracting flags from the flag history. Mar 14, 2018 at 2:38
  • The comments kind of back up that this is by design. One answer gives a userscript to do it. The other is heavily downvoted. Most of the comments are skeptical this would be useful too. I hate to ask, but.... did you? Mar 14, 2018 at 2:42
  • Yes, I did. It is true that there are good arguments in the comments for implementing it. Mar 14, 2018 at 2:44
  • Do you consider the fact that it's possible in the API also intended, or a bug that needs to be fixed? Mar 14, 2018 at 8:42
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    My answer's posted from the moderation perspective for a reason - I'm a mod, and well, I don't know what goes through the minds of our lovely SE staffers (or if it should scare me). However I feel that the current behaviour makes sense since then the API dosen't need to check if the user has visibility of the question through participation or reputation. And logically one cannot act on a post they can't see. Mar 14, 2018 at 9:54

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